Montrose City Hall

DECEMBER 14, 2018

City of Montrose
Office of the City Manager
433 South First Street
Montrose, CO 81401

Contact: William Woody, Public Information Officer
970.240.1439   |    |

Economic Study Breaks Down Regional Impacts

Montrose, CO –  The City of Montrose and the Colorado Flights Alliance recently commissioned a study of the regional economy to more fully understand and track the economic interrelations in the tri-county region of Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties.

The study centered on the impacts of tourism for the region, as well as the roles of Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) and Colorado Flights, play in generating economic activity.

“The City of Montrose is very excited to have partnered with Colorado Flights Alliance and the Towns of Telluride and Mountain Village to facilitate this professional analysis of our mutual economies,” Montrose City Manager Bill Bell said. “It is helpful to have a reference tool that shows how all of our communities are truly dependent upon one another to be successful. We will use this tool to help guide future decisions related to our community's infrastructure and programming investments.”

Highlights of the study include a total economic output from tourism for the tri-county region of $849 million in 2017, including direct, indirect and induced economic effects. Of that total, $456 million is attributable to scheduled flights at MTJ, and $294 million to Colorado Flights. 

Tourism was found to support over 7,800 jobs in the region, generating $258 million in labor income. Of those jobs, 3,718  were held by workers in San Miguel County, 2,775 in Montrose County and 1,315 in Ouray County.

The Montrose Regional Airport supported approximately 3,780 of these jobs with a payroll of approximately $132 million, while Colorado Flights was responsible for 2,475 jobs (about one-third of the total), generating $85 million in labor income. Employment attributable to both entities provides a critical component of the regional economy.

“Ultimately, this study confirmed and put some hard detail to what we have all been aware of for quite some time – that our three counties, and the individual communities within them, combine to create one larger functioning and interdependent economy,” said Colorado Flights COO Matt Skinner. “With such a combination and diversity of industries and trends through the region, we are provided with a great advantage to hit above our individual weights with collective efforts, and to be able to plan for economic growth on a macro-regional level rather than as isolated communities.”

Other findings contained in the study include:

• $417 million in direct visitor spending in 2017 

• More than 1,000 workers commuted from Montrose County to the mountain communities, with 971 workers commuting to San Miguel County

• Around 230 companies located in Montrose and Ouray counties have business licenses in the towns of Telluride or Mountain Village, including 158 companies from Montrose and 48 from Ridgway

• Ouray and San Miguel County residents spend $123 million annually in Montrose County 

"I have long had the feeling that MTJ was an economic engine that contributed “significantly” to our economy... now we have an extensive professional study that supports that belief," Montrose Mayor Roy Anderson said. "This study gives us hard data that shows just how important the airport is to our economic health, and will help justify future investments making it bigger, better, and having an even greater regional impact."  

The study did not include additional economic factors such as business-to-business dealings between the counties (e.g., a Telluride hotel with laundry services in Montrose, Montrose-based printing services provided to San Miguel and Ouray County businesses, etc.). which would likely represent significant material additions to the total numbers. 

"For many years the Montrose community has questioned if it is fiscally responsible for the City of Montrose to contribute to the Colorado Flights Alliance. The recent economic impact study goes into great detail of how the air flights into and out of MTJ airport affect our local economy," City Councilor Judy Ann Files said. "Not only does Montrose benefit from the direct spending of airport users but also indirectly from the residents and workers in Telluride and Mountain Village.  One surprise to me is the many Montrose area businesses, which have sales tax licenses in Telluride and Mountain Village.  Definitely, both the winter and summer travel have an impact on economic viability in the Montrose community." 

The study was conducted by the Business Research Division, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado Boulder and RRC Associates of Boulder. Please Click Here for an in-depth look at the Regional Economic Study. Attached is a summary of the highlights of the study. The study was originally based on 2016 numbers and later updated with 2017 data.

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About Colorado Flights Alliance

Colorado Flights Alliance is an economic development organization that provides non-stop air service and marketing support for the region. For more information visit

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About the City of Montrose 

For information, visit  Follow the city on Facebook ( and Twitter (@montrosegov).  City Hall is located in downtown Montrose at 433 South First Street and may be reached at 970-240-1400. Hours of operation are Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Economic Study Breaks Down Regional Impacts
A United Airlines passenger jet receives service at the Montrose Regional Airport. 
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